Black Earth

With Black Earth we hold in the palm of our hand Nature’s unknown depth and its persistent power. At times hidden, silent. Huge and invisible. A gateway to transcendence and the eternal.

In the poem by John Keats where Black Earth’s (slightly adapted) words are from, even in the wilting summer sun, that drains away birdsong, the Grasshopper sings with the joy of its existence. And in the silent winter the cricket, taking warmth near the stove, takes over this song. There may not even be a cricket, perhaps it’s just the kettle boiling? No matter, the song lives on in the mind of the drowsing person. The song of the grasshopper, the cricket, the kettle, and the person’s memories are one and the same, unified. Never dead.

In Lucy Farley’s painting, trees sit in the foreground in front of the town. They emanate a permanence in relation to the buildings and colours, which by contrast, seem to melt and recede into a blur, a background froth.

The trees themselves contain compelling movement and speed. The bold, vital strokes fill the trees with the energy of their creation. Their black imparts an arresting joy. This is a black of power, rich fertility and nourishment. Luxurious and fundamental.

Keats’ words and the poem they’re from typify the Romantics’ focus on nature to achieve extreme emotional states, delivering spiritual nourishment and truth.

Farley’s artistic process of deconstruction and reconfiguration focused on memory, history and nature has a similar aim. The strand of romanticism that runs through her work from the influences of Danish painters of the fifties and the English neo romantics, make for a powerful ART WRD package. Nourishing, fertile. Just like black earth.


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The Artwork

The Artist

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The Words

The Writer

“Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard, are sweeter” 
― Ode on a Grecian Urn

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” 
― Endymion: A Poetic Romance

“I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the Heart's affections and the truth of the Imagination.”

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all 
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know” 
Ode On A Grecian Urn

"'Tis "the witching time of night", 
Orbed is the moon and bright, 
And the stars they glisten, glisten, 
Seeming with bright eyes to listen"
— 'Tis the Witching Time Of Night 

“The only means of strengthening one's intellect is to make up one's mind
about nothing - to let the mind be a thoroughfare for all thoughts.” 
― Letter to brother George Keats 1819

“I do think the bars
That kept my spirit in are burst - that I
Am sailing with thee through the dizzy sky!
How beautiful thou art!” 

Should Disappointment, parent of Despair, 
Strive for her son to seize my careless heart; 
When, like a cloud, he sits upon the air, 
Preparing on his spell-bound prey to dart: 
Chase him away, sweet Hope, with visage bright, 
And fright him as the morning frightens night! ― To Hope

"The air is all softness, and crystal the streams,
And the West is resplendently clothèd in beams"
— To Emma

“A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: 
Its loveliness increases; it will never 
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep 
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep 
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.” 
―  Endymion: A Poetic Romance

On the Grasshopper and Cricket

The Poetry of earth is never dead:
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a vice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;
That is the Grasshopper's - he takes the lead
In summer luxury, - he has never done
With his delights; for when tired out with fun
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
The poetry of earth is ceasing never:
On a lone winter evening, when the frost
Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills
The Cricket's song, in warmth increasing ever,
And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,
The Grasshopper's among some grassy hills.

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